“Instead of using politics to drive resources in Chicago, in terms of what grocery stores should be prioritized and given incentives and which ones maybe not. I said, how about using data to direct that change. And given that we have a shrinking budget…we don’t have a lot of resources. So, the resources that we have, instead of just having a squeaky wheel direct them or spreading them thinly, why don’t we instead use data to identify 6 high impact sites and why don’t we use data to identify what the public health return is.”
In this video from Tedx Windy City, Mari Gallagher talks about using data and information to improve public health and combat food deserts.
According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Time by Sandra Guy, Gallagher and her team use the My Tracks app to track the time, date and spatial coordinates of each supermarket. The data along is then downloaded into a spreadsheet. Gallagher also sees an opportunity in the future for people living in food deserts to use smartphone to get access to healthier foods.
As a food + data nerd who advocates for data-driven decision-making, I loved Gallagher’s talk. What do you think about using data to direct change?